I have lilacs and smoke bushes, and the grass seems to get right up to the branches, and root system, and I remove it, should I be concerned, I usually remove the grass from the stems of the lilacs and my smoke bush, until it gets a bit larger, and someone said that I shouldn't do this? I also would like to know if it is good to remove the grass from the bottom of the trees also, is this wrong, does this keep the soil dry, or should I let the grass stay there?
I have had the same issues here in my garden and landscape areas. I removed the grass too. The grass competes with the lilacs and smoke bushes for valuable nutrients and water, plus it really does not look the best growing up, in and around the shrubs in my humble opinion. I like to have my shrubs looking tidy and getting all the water and nutrients they need to have top notch performance. To maintain a balanced soils moisture level, place a ring of mulch around the shrubs as this does both holding in good soils moisture and adds a nice eye-catching appearance to the shrubs as well. I use some light colored gravel mulch around my lilacs and they do just fine. The gravel mulch is called Tri-color and has greyish white gravel and two shades of a pinkish colored gravel in the mix. The soils moisture underneath is well maintained even in the hotter temps here. In other places I use some of the brown wood mulch.